Plextor 716SA: Should I check off caching & C2 errors?



I’m the proud owner of a Plextor 716SA (sata). I’ve had it now for 4 years and its still ripping CD’s flawlessly. I don’t do much burning nor ripping of DVD’s as about 97% of the time it’s in use its ripping CD’s (other than loading up games). I rip my music into FLAC (individual tracks), create a cue sheet and Log and store the music on PC hard drive and listen to it on a Rockboxed iRiver iHP-120 at home, in the car etc. I never burn CD’s anymore.

I’m a bit familiar with the unit & EAC and have been reading on how to make my rips even better. I recently just upgraded the firmware to 1.11 (I believe its the final) from 1.08 and in doing so had to setup EAC all over again (for some reason once I installed the new firmware in the drive it went into burst mode). So now I’m back into secure mode and have followed the set up guide over at Hydrogen Audio Wiki which is pretty much the same recommendations here at CD Freaks.

Last night I spent hours reading about Plextor drives and EAC and read some very interesting threads about how EAC isn’t very reliable for the caching test and perhaps has issues with C2 errors. I have read (what I think is) contradicting statements and all about the -USEFUA thing. Apparently this helps correct the shortcomings but isn’t 100% either.

So my question is simple. Should I check off the box for caching and C2 errors? I’ll take a safe, great rip over a perfect flawless rip if it means not adjusting settings everytime or doing a bunch of complicated procedures. Keep in mind I rip into FLAC and not creating Cd’s. I don’t want to do the -USEFUA thing unless someone can convince me otherwise. According to DAO website my player Caches (which isn’t good but common), does Accurate Stream (of course) and does C2 errors. I’m a little confused about the whole thing since some posters have gone to great lengths to explain the issues but yet still leaves me wondering.

Any help & advice will be much appreciated!



I don’t know if -USEFUA works on the PX-716SA, but I know it’s not worth enabling unless you uncheck EAC’s caching option - while simultaneously EAC’s caching option isn’t worth unchecking unless you’re employing -USEFUA and you know that it’s working. Basically they are a package deal.

If you uncheck EAC’s caching option without employing (truly functional) -USEFUA, it will completely defeat the purpose of ‘Secure’ ripping on any drive which normally does caching. “Track Quality” will always be 100%, because no rereads will ever uncover any problems. Secondary readings will come from the drive cache rather than from the physical disc itself, which means every ‘two’ readings of the same sector will always match, and no inconsistencies will ever be found.

I would say if you ever see “Track Quality” below 100%, then you know the setup is working properly. Keep that in mind when you fiddle around with these options.

Now C2 is an entirely different beast than AccurateStream. C2 will reread only the problematic areas (or I should say - only the areas your drive perceives as problematic), while AccurateStream rereads everything at least once before it decides if and where there are any problems to warrant further rereads. Fortunately AccurateStream re-re-reads only the problematic areas, but even so, it’s a very slow and painful process.

I trust the C2 on my Premium, but only in a -USEFUA scenario. In Test & Copy on a mint condition Michael Jackson boxset disc, I have seen a CRC mismatch with “drive does caching” and C2, which I have never seen with -USEFUA and “drive doesn’t do caching”. I don’t know how or why. I just know that when PlexTools does its ripping, PlexTools employs C2 and -USEFUA simultaneously (at least on the Premium anyway). The problem with PlexTools is the software doesn’t have a fallback for when C2 could fail - such as on a copy-protected CD.

I believe the main CD-related claims-to-fame for the PX-716 is that the drive can overread into the lead-in and the lead-out (almost none of the nonPlextors can do this), and it’s an acceptably fast drive by AccurateStream standards. I don’t know if anyone actually takes the C2 very seriously on the PX-716. I’m not saying they shouldn’t - I’m just saying I don’t know.

If it’s possible for you to do -USEFUA C2 ripping with your PX-716SA the same way I do that with my Premiums, you should test it to be sure. Even if -USEFUA is possible on the PX-716A (ATA model), that doesn’t automatically extend to the Serial-ATA model. Tell EAC your drive doesn’t do caching, but does do C2. And include -USEFUA in your EAC shortcut before launching EAC. If you ever see any “Track Quality” of under 100%, then the setup is working.

I would say Test & Copy of -USEFUA C2 is more reliable than AccurateStream (with or without Test & Copy) on most discs. It’s also much faster, and doesn’t put a lot of strain on your drive.


Thanks for the generous reply.

I had it set up before (and ripping hundreds of CD’s) with caching checked and C2 unchecked. This seemed to work fine - in the logs I did in fact sometimes have rips of 99.8% and such - going by your post tells me it was working properly then. Thats good.

I think what I will do is use my old settings. They seem to work fine and have listened to many rips and they sound good too.

Thanks Glathannus!